Becoming a father is a proud moment in any man’s life, but it was when my brother and I graduated from Army Basic Training that my father seemed the most proud.
My father, retired Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Schutter, completed his Army Basic Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1984 and enjoyed a 25 year career that started out in Field Artillery.
“I remember my father telling me stories about being in the Army,” said retired Lt. Col. Schutter. “After I joined the Army, I was able to share stories with my kids and always encouraged them to think about joining.”
My grandfather, Robert Schutter, served in the Army from 1957 to 1959. After completing Army Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he was deployed to Korea to serve with the 30th Ordnance Company.
“That was when we had the draft,” recalls Robert Schutter. “My friend and I decided to go ahead and volunteer instead of waiting to be drafted.”
I remember my father telling me stories about being in the Army.
While serving in Korea, Schutter recalls when he and his platoon saw three MiGs fly over the 38th parallel, and how alarmed he was.
“I was glad to get back home,” said Schutter, “but I believe my time in the service was beneficial and everyone should serve in the military. I was very proud when my son told me he had joined the Army.”
Retired Lt. Col. Schutter, a Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, had his first duty assignment as an Artillery Officer in Garlstedt, Germany. Once the Berlin Wall came down, he returned to the states and deployed to Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan.
While serving with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, retired Lt. Col. Schutter was able to watch his own son and daughter follow in his footsteps and join the Army.
“I was very proud when my son and daughter joined the Army,” recalls retired Lt. Col. Schutter. “I enjoyed my career in the Army, and I knew it would give them the chance to do things that others only dream about.”
My older brother joined the Army Reserves, and right after him, I joined the Army National Guard. I joined in June of 2001, right before the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I remember calling my father that day and telling him how worried I was that he would be deployed overseas very soon.
“I would be more worried about you being deployed before me,” retired Lt. Col. Schutter said.
I entered into the Army knowing I would eventually be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
I finished Army Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and served with a National Guard unit in Austin, Texas. I served six years, and after finishing college and moving to Houston, I knew I wanted to stay close to the military culture and camaraderie.
I started working for VA last October, and I couldn’t be more proud of the service we provide to our Veterans. I look forward to learning and growing with the VA community.
Now retired and working on his second career, Lt. Col. Schutter has regular visits to the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Having served his country, he enjoys the service he receives.
“There are a couple of outpatient clinics that are closer for me to travel to, but I really like my doctor at the Houston VA, and I wouldn’t go anywhere else,” said retired Lt. Col. Schutter.
Now, as an employee at the Houston VA, it warms my heart to know that Veterans, like my father, are receiving outstanding care.